October 2019 Archives

Staying in control of finances during a split

Georgia residents considering the divorce process will need to stay on top of their finances as they prepare for life post-divorce. This is particularly important for older couples who experience divorce as they are entering or are already in retirement. However, all residents who are preparing or going through this process can stay in control of their finances so that they can have a healthier financial life.

Community service sentencing may contribute to poverty

For many in Georgia, community service sentencing in criminal cases seems to present a more humane alternative to heavy fines or jail time, especially for people living in poverty. However, one study by the UCLA Labor Center and School of Law challenges these assumptions. It argues that the widespread use of community service sentencing devalues labor and may wind up exacerbating unemployment, especially in low-income communities and communities of color. It can even produce similar effects to court debt for large fines, especially because people sentenced to community service may need to provide weeks of unpaid labor to pay off their citations.

How divorce affects taxes

For couples with a combined income of $612,350 or more in 2019, income taxes are actually higher than if the two were unmarried. However, marriage still offers a number of other benefits that couples lose access to if they divorce. Georgia couples who are considering a divorce should keep these benefits in mind.

The truth about crime in America

Getting tough on crime is something that the president has made a priority during his time in the White House. However, it is important to note that crime rates have fallen in Georgia and throughout America since the 1990s. According to the FBI, violent crime rates fell 51% between 1993 and 2018, and property crimes are also less common today compared to 30 years ago. Property crimes include burglary or motor vehicle theft.

Why choosing the right trustee matters

One of the most important steps in creating a trust is choosing who will act as the trustee. The person who is creating the trust may want to choose a close friend or family member to serve in that role. However, it is also possible to have a financial adviser or another professional act in such a capacity. Some individuals may find it appropriate to have both a family member and a professional work together to administer a trust.

Specialized trusts can reach different estate planning goals

Estate planning strategies should be tailored to the unique circumstances of the person making the plan. However, it's also an area that can change rapidly based on state and national politics. In the future, the estate tax exemption may drop from $11.4 million to as little as $3.5 million, and the gift exemption could drop from $11.4 million to $1 million. For couples in Georgia who are considering their estate plans, the possibility of a drop in the estate tax exemption may require taking steps to ensure their assets are protected.

Signs that a marriage may be heading toward divorce

Georgia residents may be interested to know that there are signs, according to experts, that indicate a couple may be headed for divorce. Some of these signs are clearly seen by outsiders. Others are things that only the individual contemplating divorce knows is going on inside.

Buying out a family home during a divorce

One option that many Georgia couples consider when getting a divorce is to sell the family home and use it as part of the divorce settlement. Another option, especially when children are involved, is for one spouse to buy out the family home from their soon-to-be ex-spouse and continue living in it. When a couple decides to do that, they need to calculate the house buyout.

More Americans are getting arrested for petty crimes

Arrests can ruin lives. According to a study published in the journal Crime & Delinquency, people in Georgia and around the country who have been arrested once by age 26 earn around $5,000 less each year than those with clean records. Meanwhile, people who have had multiple arrests by age 26 earn around $13,000 less per year. In addition, those with criminal records have more trouble landing jobs and getting married.

Estate planning for blended families

Estate planning in Georgia, as well as other states, involves making decisions about end-of-life issues as well as the distribution of property and funds after death. In most cases, the estate planner is primarily concerned with the needs and feelings of heirs and loved ones. These individuals likely include spouses, significant others, children and, in some cases, stepchildren.

Sort through myths and realities of limited liability companies

Starting a new business is an exciting time that includes a myriad of decisions. Some of these decisions can be more appealing than others, like designing a website or selecting a physical location for your business. Other choices can be daunting, like writing a business plan or selecting a business format. Choosing the right structure for your business is critical to protect your personal assets, save you money and set your business on the path to success.

A child's birth requires estate planning

The arrival of a new child is at the pinnacle of life's greatest joys for a Georgia couple. While no one wants to detract from the moment by contemplating 'what if" scenarios, this is precisely the time to address such situations in an estate plan. There is no greater responsibility than being a parent, and an early lesson to learn and pass on to children is to be proactive.

Divorce could lead to credit score damage

Divorce presents several emotional and financial issues. However, many soon-to-be exes in Georgia may overlook the potential impact on their credit scores. Most married couples have joint accounts and joint debts, like shared credit cards, loans and mortgages. While the divorce decree could make one spouse responsible for the repayment of a joint debt account, this does not affect the parties' contract with the lender.

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